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(Capcom's primary storyline)
"I was to become a god! Creating a new world, with an advanced race of human beings...."
Oswell E. Spencer, also referred to as 'Lord Spencer', was the president of Umbrella, a major bio-weapons manufacturer hiding behind a pharmaceutical façade. A man of great wealth and power, he was an aristocrat with a keen hobby in art collecting.[notes 1] He had a vision to remake the world and lead it into a new era, as the world's current state was less than ideal to Spencer. He intended to use the research of Bio Organic Weapons to carry out his vision and mould a utopia for mankind with himself as its ruler.
While Spencer is most notable for his role as the president of the Umbrella Corporation, he was also one of the three scientists that discovered the Progenitor virus after hearing rumors that a West African flower, "Stairway of the Sun", bestowed incredible powers to anyone who consumed it. Accompanied by prominent researcher James Marcus and his student, Brandon Bailey, the trio were able to make the ground breaking find on December 4th, 1966. After much experimentation with the virus, Spencer began to have visions for the future of the world, which over the years manifested into "Project Wesker", a top secret Umbrella eugenics-based project that would become the reason for every action Spencer took. While driven by their insights to create a powerful viral biological weapon, Spencer and his colleagues established the Umbrella Corporation alongside his friend Edward Ashford. The company appeared to create pharmaceutical products, which was truly meant to disguise their sinister motives. Ashford later died after being exposed to the Progenitor virus, as part of Spencer's conspiracy to monopolize Umbrella for himself. In 1962, a few years before the discovery of the Progenitor virus, Spencer hired the well-known architect George Trevor to design a special mansion in the Arklay Mountains, which would be completed in 1967.
The estate would serve as a camouflage for a secret research laboratory complex in its basement. After realizing that George may disclose the secrets of the mansion in the future, Spencer had his wife Jessica and their daughter Lisa kidnapped and used as Progenitor virus test-subjects, and George himself was later drugged and imprisoned within the walls of the mansion he built. The drugs had an adverse effect on his memory, causing him to struggle to remember the many puzzles he had devised, such as the Tiger Eyes and the Gold Emblem. All known information about him stopped after he ceased writing in his diary in December, some time after falling down a hole, where a grave had been prepared for him by Spencer. Also occurring in that year, Spencer established the Umbrella Research Center for further research of the Progenitor virus, and appointed co-founder James Marcus as its first general manager.
After Marcus successfully created the t-Virus by administering the Progenitor virus to a Leech, Spencer grew paranoid of Marcus' new found reputation. Ultimately, Spencer ordered Marcus' former apprentices, Albert Wesker and William Birkin, to assassinate him. In the aftermath, Spencer appointed Birkin to take over the t-Virus project. Spencer was also left as the sole remaining founding member of the Umbrella Corporation, which allowed him to monopolize the company for himself. Around the late 1990s, he and several other businessmen with ties to Umbrella also purchased a defunct US Military Base on Sonido de Tortuga Island, which he later converted into a B.O.W. research lab, the same lab that Alex Wesker would later use for experiments on immortality.
"When one buries a treasure, one should not leave behind a map..."
When the Zombie outbreak affected Raccoon City, Spencer ordered that all of Umbrella's data be backed up to the U.M.F.-013 computer core, an act which was carried out and overseen by his loyal employee, Sergei Vladimir. Sergei and an unidentified Umbrella executive carried the computer core out of the city via helicopter. Raccoon City was leveled by a U.S. Government missile within moments of Sergei's escape. Spencer later received word that the city had been completely wiped out and made an entry about it in his journal. He also placed Sergei in charge of Umbrella's remaining structure, and went into hiding. Following the aftermath of the incidents in the Arklay Mountains and Raccoon City, Spencer brought forth top lawyers and false witnesses to the Supreme Court to shift blame for the events of Raccoon City to the Government, which kept Umbrella afloat for another five years.
In actuality, U.S. governors were involved with Umbrella's dealings. Ultimately, Albert Wesker betrayed Spencer and sealed Umbrella's fate by submitting all of Umbrella's secret information (B.O.W.s, Viral Samples, Tactical Training, etc.) to the Government. The information had been downloaded onto a special disk from the U.M.F.-013, one of Umbrella's biggest archives. Wesker even went as far as to personally testify against Spencer, detailing what role he had in the events of Raccoon City; he was referred to as a personal friend of the CEO (chief executive officer), but ultimately betrayed his former employer. Immediately afterwards, Umbrella's business license was revoked and a global manhunt for Spencer had begun, causing him to retreat even further into hiding following Umbrella's destruction. Wesker took all of the infrastructure that he had recovered from Umbella and planned to remake it as his own empire, with which to lead the world into a new era. He would meet Spencer again in 2006 and reveal these plans before finishing him off for good.
"Alex has disappeared! I would be less concerned if that were the only regrettable report from the island.... And most importantly, all the research materials including the final virus that was to make me a god cannot be located! I have been betrayed!... I should have learned from my mistakes with Albert!"
Following Albert's betrayal, Alex Wesker was Spencer's last and most loyal servant. She was assigned to research the Immortality Virus for Spencer (a virus that would presumably allow Spencer to cheat death), according to Spencer's memoirs. However, Alex betrayed him and disappeared after the project's success, taking the results, her researchers, subordinates, and the virus itself to Sushestvovanie Island near Russia, leaving no trace behind.
Alex's whereabouts were unknown to Spencer, thus he assumed that Alex was deceased, making Albert the sole survivor of the Wesker children. By this point, Spencer had become terminally ill and had lost all hope of achieving the immortality he desired for decades, falling into a deep depression as a result. He relied on Patrick, his butler, to leak his current hiding place to Albert. He chose to remain silent about Alex or her whereabouts to ensure that Albert wouldn't come after her also.
"However, all was lost with Raccoon City. Despite that setback, your creation still holds great significance."
Spencer's hiding place had been his European estate, a castle located along the coast of the Atlantic ocean (probably somewhere in England). Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine were given information from a reliable source on Spencer's location, hoping to arrest Spencer and get information on Wesker's whereabouts. Minutes before they arrived, Wesker himself paid a visit to Spencer, who was expecting him, much to Wesker's shock. Wesker realized that Spencer had been in control of everything that occurred over the years, even his own actions, and the two discussed Wesker's origins. Wesker was the result of genetic experimentation with the Progenitor virus along with thousands of other children born to parents of "superior genes", known as the "Wesker children."
Spencer revealed that his goal was to create a new breed of humans -Albert included- and to make himself immortal, thus become a god over a new world. However, Albert was the only one who survived out of all of the other participants of the Wesker project, and the research itself was destroyed along with Raccoon City. His decision to reveal this proved to be a mistake, as revealing Wesker's origins ended up clearing any doubts as to Wesker's plans, and resulted in his creation fully breaking free from his control. As Spencer stood from his wheelchair to confront Wesker face to face, he violently thrusted his hand through Spencer's chest, whispering to him that the right to become a god was now his, and had never been Spencer's. Wesker viciously removed his hand from his chest, allowing him to topple over. As Jill and Chris entered the room, they unexpectedly found Spencer's corpse, with Wesker's bloodstained figure standing over him. After a battle in the estate, Wesker and Jill disappeared, and were presumed dead. Spencer's corpse was left lying on the floor of his castle.
Despite various references made to him in previous Resident Evil games, Spencer's only confirmed appearance was in Resident Evil 5. He was shown in a flashback to be an elderly man in his eighties. He had light blue eyes and completely white, curly hair. He wore a purple evening robe with purple slippers, though he may have just been settling into more comfortable attire for the night. He was shown in a portrait wearing more formal attire, albeit with an older-age sense in his fashion. He was slightly confined to a wheelchair, which he was connected to through wires, though he was able to stand up and face Wesker during the last moments of his life, at the same time disconnecting himself from his life support. The chair kept track of his heart rate. Spencer would break into racked coughing at random times while speaking, and also seemed to have breathing problems. Since he has never been seen before his incredibly old state, when Spencer's health problems began is currently unknown, other than it possibly being as early as the late 1990s.
Spencer was divorced from human morality, viewing things only in terms of power and believing that only the strongest and/or most intelligent deserved to exist. Spencer was also very treacherous, as evidenced by his callous orchestration of the deaths of Edward Ashford and James Marcus, two longtime friends and fellow Umbrella founders. He achieved the latter at the hands of Albert Wesker and William Birkin, the doctor's most trusted students at the time. It was this very command from the CEO that motivated Wesker to abandon Umbrella, believing that he would be just as expendable and not wishing to share the fate of Marcus.
It is heavily implied that these Darwinistic, Machiavellian, and psychopathic elements and views, among others, were ultimately emulated by Albert and Alex Wesker as a result, including ironically enough their later treachery towards him. He was narcissistic, believing that he was entitled to be the god of a new world, filling his estate with portraits of himself and showing pride and haughtiness to his dying breath. By the time of his death, Spencer had become nihilistic and more bitter and twisted than ever, perhaps even deliberately provoking Wesker into killing him.
Despite all of this, he got along well with his butler, Patrick. The same could be said of fellow Umbrella executives before he had them killed, as his quiet nature and calm demeanor left them with no suspicions of his treachery.
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- In Umbrella Chronicles, Spencer is incorrectly referred to as "Oswald E. Spencer" in the game's credits by the voice of a news reporter.
- In Resident Evil: Dead Aim, the massive Umbrella cruiser, Spencer Rain, was named after the Umbrella CEO.
- Spencer makes a cameo in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3. In the Nemesis ending, he is shown speaking with Director Colcord, about an "improvement" made to Nemesis.
- Although his birth year was given as 1931 in the Resident Evil 5 Guidebook, this conflicts with some reports in the game itself as well as prior elements in the franchise, namely his friendship with James Marcus since their college years, as the latter was born in 1918. The RE.Net recollections timeline changed this to being 1923.
- ↑ Excerpt from BIOHAZARD CODE: Veronica Kanzenban Kaitai Shinsho, page 222:
- ↑ The use of the title 'Lord' in the game seems to suggest that he was a baron; however, it is also possible that he was a viscount, earl, or marquess. Barons are styled 'The Lord [surname/territorial designation]' or 'The Lord [surname] of [territorial designation]' and are referred to as 'Lord [surname/territorial designation]' in speech. Viscounts, earls, and marquesses are styled 'The Viscount/Earl [surname/territorial designation]', 'The Earl [surname] of [territorial designation]', or 'The Marquess of [territorial designation]'; they are, however, referred to as 'Lord [surname/territorial designation]' in speech. Since the definite article 'The' (which denotes a substantive title) is not employed in the game, it is difficult to ascertain which particular rank of peerage he belonged to: 'The Lord Spencer' would clearly indicate that he was a baron, while 'Lord Spencer' can indicate that he was a viscount, earl, or marquess.
- ↑ Resident Evil 5, From Chief Researcher Brandon's Journal - No. 1
- ↑ Resident Evil Zero (2002), file: "Marcus' Diary 1"
- ↑ Resident Evil: Degeneration
- ↑ Resident Evil 5 guidebook